Changes are coming to WSC gen eds

Kadra Sommersted, Staff Writer

General Education changes will start with the fall 2018 semester at Wayne State College, if a current student chooses to partake.

“Structurally it was a minimum of 41 hours, and now it’s going to become 30 hours,” said Chuck Parker, professor in the business and economics dept. and a member of the general studies committee.

“It’s a good idea, according to our accreditation to look at our gen ed program often,” said Lori Nicholson, professor of computer tech and information systems and a member of the general studies advisory committee.

She said there hadn’t been any changes to the program in over 10
years, and that it was probably time to bring the program up to HLC (Higher Learning Commission) standards.

“We were out of compliance with HLC, so if we didn’t change something they would probably give us sanctions,” said Kody Wageman, junior and a student representative on the general studies committee.

“If we get sanctions, then we can’t hand out diplomas. It was something that was coming down the tube that eventually we had to look at.”

Parker said the HLC watches over colleges and universities.

“The thinking was that we needed to be more current with that organization,” said Parker.

Wageman said that this first year with the changes they will be keeping the same gen ed courses, but with the new program it will be opened to professors being able to create their own class that fits into one of the tenets.

“All of the classes have sort of just been refit into this new 30-hour format,” said Parker. “There has been some different combinations of courses in the new area compared to the old one, but every course that’s in there now is in the new one.”

Parker said that it’s just so students don’t have to take as many credit hours.

He said all credit hours taken through duel credit will transfer the same as before.

“Going from 41 to 30 is really more flexible for students who are maybe not sure what they want to do,” said Wageman.

“This allows them a little more flexibility with taking other courses they might be interested in instead of having to take more hours in gen ed.”

Wageman said students still have to take 120 credit hours to graduate, less of those credit hours will be taken by gen ed courses and can be for the major, a minor or a double major.

Parker said that Wayne is well-known for being a teachers’ college.

“This allows maybe some students who are ‘eh, I don’t know if I want to be a teacher or not’ – well now they have the ability to maybe test a class – take an education class for a semester because they are going to have more flexibility as.”

He said that it could work other ways as well. For students who may want to try another major, when they aren’t sure what they want to do and not have to worry whether it’s a Gen. Ed. or not.

“The student will probably want to work with their advisor and it will probably be that they will have to look at what classes they have taken and what classes will be required under the new (requirements),” said Nicholson.

“Like Dr. Parker said, every class in the old gen ed is in the new gen ed, but they are shifted around a little bit.”

She said if a student is interested in changing from the old program to the new program, they should look at what changes there are for their major catalog as well, and speak with their adviser.

Wageman said freshmen and sophomores are going to benefit a little more formt he gen ed changes.

“I think what gets lost sometimes in this whole discussion, is that our general education program really is an important program,” said Parker.

“I think sometimes everybody forgets that gen ed is a useful part of our education.”

He said it’s not that some students are better off than others, the focus is just being changed.

He said that he knows a student won’t willingly take 12 more credit hours.

The committee are just trying to be in compliance with the HLC.

“I’m not trying to say that it’s neither good nor bad, it’s just a change,” said Parker.

Nicholson said there is potential to take more credit hours and students aren’t limited to just 30 credit hours.

Parker said it lets students choose more freely on how they fill up their 120 credit hours.

“It wasn’t an easy decision, but sometimes decisions are made and you have to work with them,” said Nicholson.

Wageman said that it allows students to explore more of what they
want to do.

Parker and Nicholson said that even though everyone in the committee didn’t always get along for the decision making, they came to an agreement.

Nicholson said that having student representatives, professors and deans all helped figure out what would be best.